Burgin, Mercer school districts achieve 'exemplary' status

October 14, 2004

The Burgin and Mercer County school systems were both identified as "exemplary growth districts" in test results released Wednesday by the state Department of Education.

The designation means that all schools in each district were progressing or met their improvement goal on the Commonwealth Accountability Testing System (CATS) as well as met dropout and novice reduction criteria.

Junction City Elementary, Danville High School, and Harrodsburg Middle and Harrodsburg High schools were all identified as needing some state assistance.

Boyle County

In Boyle County, two schools met their CATS testing goals and two schools were labeled "progressing," but scores at Junction City Elementary indicate the school needs additional help from the state.


Overall, Boyle County fell just short of meeting its districtwide goal, scoring a combined 79.2 against its improvement goal index of 79.5. The combined results reflect testing conducted in 2003 and 2004.

"With the district's combined index falling very close to our goal, we believe we are moving well overall toward the ultimate goal of 100 percent proficiency by 2014," said Superintendent Pam Rogers.

Woodlawn Elementary and Boyle Middle surpassed their goals in testing that was taken last spring.

Woodlawn scored 93.7 on the most recent tests, up from 84.4 in 2003. The school's combined index was 89.1, ahead of its goal of 87.2. Students scored 104 in reading and 105 in science, already exceeding the goal of 100 set for 2014.

The middle school had a combined index of 81.4, topping its goal of 78. Students showed gains in reading, science, social studies and writing, but slipped slightly in math, arts and humanities and practical living.

Both Woodlawn and Boyle Middle qualified for state rewards for their achievements, but the General Assembly did not fund the rewards program this year and no money is available.

At the other end of the spectrum, Junction City Elementary showed gains in several subjects but fell well short of its goal score of 80.4, coming up with a combined index of 67.6 and earning an "Assistance Level 1" status. Level 1 is the least troubled among three assistance categories the state assigns to schools where test results don't measure up, but Rogers said it is uncertain what that status will mean for Junction City. "The state will provide some support, evaluate the culture of the building and make reccommendations about what needs to be done, but it's unclear exactly what that means," she said.

Junction City is using a federal Reading First grant to focus on improving reading skills, which Rogers said should help the school continue to improve its test scores.

Perryville Elementary and Boyle High were both given "progressing" ratings, meaning that they didn't meet their testing goals but are headed in the right direction.

Perryville scored a combined index of 79.2, just shy of its 80.4 goal. Improvement in all content areas helped the school raise its score nearly 7 points above 2003 results.

Boyle High was further away from its improvement goal of 79.7, scoring 74.5 in its combined index. Declining test scores in math and science offset gains in other subjects, leaving the school with just .7 improvement this year compared to 2003 scores. "Overall we're pleased," Rogers said. "We know there are some areas where we're kind of flat and not making the kind of movement we were hoping for, but there is progress being made."


None of Danville's five schools met their testing goals, though four schools did post improvements over 2003 results. Tolliver, Hogsett and Jennie Rogers elementaries and Bate Middle all received "progressing" ratings. Danville High's performance, however, earned it an "Assistance Level 1" status that means state intervention.

The district's overall index rose to 72.8 compared to its goal of 77.5. Districtwide results from 2004 were 72.8, up from 70.9 in 2003. "I see some progress at all the schools, but we have to make larger improvements to meet the goal of 100 percent proficiency by 2014," said Superintendent Robert Rowland.

Jennie Rogers showed the biggest improvement, scoring a combined index of 79.4, just short of its improvement goal of 79.5. Overall scores from 2004 improved to 84.8, up more than 10 points from 2003, when the school was designated "Assistance Level 1."

That designation brought state intervention. Rowland said Jennie Rogers received extra money from the state School Improvement Fund, which was used for professional development of staff and on software and equipment needed to boost test scores. The state also sent in an expert to train and lead a local review team that examined the school and recommended improvements, which were implemented and helped bring about Jennie Rogers' dramatic improvement in 2004, Rowland said.

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